Tuesday, September 27, 2011

About Hostage Heart

I am a romantic dreamer. Despite all of the rumors that writers are full of angst, I really like my life - so I love to write about the things in my life... but my books are pure fiction.

After the 2005 hurricane season and the devastation it caused to parts of Louisiana and Texas, I heard many stories about the people down there and their remarkable spirit. (As an aside, my hubby was a rescue worker down there and he came home with incredible stories to tell.)

Deanna Blair, the heroine of my book Hostage Heart, was born from these stories. Add to that my sometimes "questionable" imagination and my need to let everyone have their special romantic moments and I added Ryan Hunter and a few other interesting characters. Then I tossed in a bank robbery.

The book starts in New York City, a city that never sleeps and the place where I was raised. The bulk of the story takes place down south in Baton Rouge, LA and Little Rock, Ark. Although I grew up with a southern-born mama, I still did a lot of research into Deanna's Cajun heritage and the local customs. It was really fun for me.

I want my readers to experience the flavors of a beignet (a Louisiana fried fritter) and the dialect of a Cajun as they read my story. More than that, I want them to feel the love between my characters and each of the relationships they have. And of course I hope that they sit on the edge of their seats as they wonder what will come next.

Here's an excerpt:

Deanna tried to pull away. Tears came to her eyes. “Please, let me go.”

“Hey Roy, Miss Southern Bell said please.” He mocked her pronunciation. One of the other two men laughed at her distress.

The third man got up and grabbed her chin. He held her face still as he forced the neck of another open bottle of beer between her lips and poured. Deanna choked and spit out most of it.
“Come on, swallow.” He kept pouring and she finally swallowed some to keep from choking. “That’s right baby, you’re going to feel much better. We just want you to enjoy too.”

After most of the contents of the bottle of beer was either down her throat or spilled down the front of her blouse, the bottle was put on the table. Deanna fought to keep from gagging as the beer hit her stomach and started an abrupt return trip. “I’m going to be sick.”

The first guy stood and nearly dumped her on the floor. They let her heave the contents of her stomach while she bent over. They laughed at her. When she was done, one of the men splashed her face with even more beer to rinse her off. Then the front of her blouse was torn open.

“Oh God, please don’t...:” Unable to defend herself or run away with her hands and feet still tied, she cried and pleaded.

Tugging the front of her bra as if to rip it off of her, the second guy found her grandmother’s ring. “What’s this?” He dug the piece of jewelry out.

She looked longingly at the ring. “Please, that’s all I have left of my mamere.” They still hadn’t recovered the old woman’s body long after the flood waters receded. “Please don’t take that.”

One of the men leered at her. “Maybe we’ll let you earn it back.”

“What the hell is going on here?” His booming voice surprised everyone.

“Hey man, we were just having some fun. She doesn’t mind. Do you?” One of the three drunken revelers pouted.

“I told you, she’s my property... and I don’t share with anyone.” The pseudo bank customer had returned from his errand. He walked to them and grabbed her roughly by her arm. “What’s that?” He questioned the guy with the ring in his hand.

“She was hiding it.”

“Give it to me. Now.” The ring was put into his outstretched palm and he put it into his pocket. He looked at the floor where she spit up. “Clean this up.”

“Hey man, we were just bored.

“That’s not my problem.” He pulled Deanna into the small kitchen and helped her wash her face and rinse her mouth at the sink.

“So long as Jacob is gone, I’m in charge around here. And I don’t like having my orders ignored.”

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Get autographed ebook covers

Autographs for my eBooks are available at Kindlegraph.

You don't have to have a Kindle to get an autograph.

All you have to do is sign in at Kindlegraph and
request an autograph for whichever book/books you would like.

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where were you?

Where were you ten years ago when you heard?

Everyone seems to remember with accuracy where they were and what they were doing ten years ago when America was under attack - they remember when they heard about the planes crashing into the World Trade Center towers in NYC, they were already reeling when the news came about the Pentagon in flames, and people cried from both fear and pride when they heard that an airplane full of people resisted and wouldn't allow their deaths to be used as a weapon for even more destruction.

My husband and I had the day off and were sleeping in late when my sister called to tell me a plane had crashed into one of the towers - I was already watching the TV news when the second plane hit. Our son made a call home from the local high school to ask if his dad was working that day (he had been working the day before at a WTC venue). My daughter called from college (upstate) to make sure everyone was okay. Of all my memories, hearing the fear and worry in my children's voices will stay with me forever.

Where will you be today?

Towns and villages around the world will be holding memorial services. House of worship will be saying prayers. The new One World Trade Center and the reflecting pools will be the sight of dignitaries and survivors of the fallen. Periods of silence will be observed and many places will read from a lost of names. Flags will wave and candles will light the night.

Where have you been for the last ten years?

How did September 1, 2001 change you? Have you found a way to honor the memories of those who died with charity, good deeds, compassion, patriotism, and volunteerism? Do you remember to tell your loved ones how you feel every day? And if you are a parent, have you made sure that your kids know they will always be cared for?

Our lives changed ten years ago. Now is the time to remember the innocent victims, the heroes and the families who were torn apart with positive deeds. Yes take time to shed a tear and then show honor for the lives that were lost, gratitude for the heroes that came out, and compassion for our fellow human beings. Volunteer in your community. Smile at a stranger, Thank a soldier, a paramedic, a firefighter and a police officer.

Ten years ago Americans united to show strength, resilience and pride. We flew flags and came together to show we would not be defeated. Let's show we are still strong and proud, that we respect our country and our people, and that we are caring and committed to doing right.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Chat and A Contest,

“Matt, why are you angry? Sudah shook her head gently. “She was just making conversation.”

“She didn’t even give you the courtesy of asking you the question.”

She shrugged. “They see the color of my skin and my scarf. I’m different. They do not mean any harm.”

“You’re my wife Sudah and I want people to respect that.”

“Maybe they worry I don’t speak English?”

“If they bothered to speak to you they would find out that you do.” His wife always made excuses for people; she never wanted to see bad in any of them. But even her positivity wasn't enough to dispel his foul mood.

Matt was feeling edgy all day. He was very aware of the hostile looks they received earlier in the day while touring some nearby towns. One old man even called Sudah an Aaa-Rab and made fun of her head covering. Matt almost lost his temper with the old man, but Sudah’s light touch on his arm calmed him. When she politely told the man she was Pakistani, the old guy guffawed and said “same thing.” Later, Sudah explained to Matt that she didn’t think it was worthwhile to argue. “We will not change a man’s mind unless he wants to hear something new.”

Earlier in the day he drove to the college campus with them so that Sudah could see the route she would have to take. He also wanted to see the area she’d be spending so much time in for himself and make sure that it was safe for her. That’s when he first got an uneasy feeling that they were being watched, but he didn’t see anyone specific. Matt convinced himself that it was just more of those hostile looks keeping him on edge. There was a small mosque in the student center and Sudah told him that she would pray there. Matt hoped she wouldn't be harassed because of her faith. The campus advertised that childcare was available but neither of them were impressed with the facilities. That was when they started exploring and finally wound up in the diner on their way back home.

Sudah fed Aden creamed corn from a small jar while they waited for their orders. The waitress put heaping platters of food in front of each of them. She made sure to thank the waitress.

Matt bit into an overstuffed club sandwich with turkey and ham Sudah chewed slowly on her grilled cheese sandwich while she helped Aden hold his bottle.

“I am happy the drive to school will not be long.” She took time to chew the bite of sandwich she just put in her mouth.

He nodded. “It’s a pretty direct route. That’s good.”

“Matt, thank you for bringing us here.”

He took a gulp of lemonade. “Oh baby, I hope you’re happy.”

“Yes, I am happy.” She smiled at him. “You give us a nice home. You are taking care of your family.”

The three left the diner with their stomachs full and his foul mood dispelled a bit by his wife’s optimism. Matt stayed off of the highway as they headed back towards their home in order to see a little more of the area. Driving along a street of one and two million dollar homes, Matt tried to imagine coming home to Sudah and their son in one of those luxurious estates.

“One of these days…”

“One of these days what, Matt?” Sudah asked about his barely audible statement. Her own voice was low because of the sleeping infant in the rear seat.

He chuckled. “One of these days I would love to afford one of these homes for you and Aden.”

She looked out of her passenger side window. “These homes, they are so big.”

“Yeah. They’re beautiful.”

“But Matt, compared to the house I grew up in, our home is a,” she paused to come up with the right word, “a… a big house.”

“Like a mansion?” He was amused by his wife’s naivety about the language and expressions.

“Yes, a mansion. It is a mansion to me.”

He pulled the car to the side of the road and put it in park. A wisp of hair had escaped the scarf she wound around her head. Reaching towards her, Matt tenderly brushed it behind her ear. “Baby, I want to give you so much. I want to do so much for you and Aden.” He wanted to be the perfect husband and father, everything his own father wasn't.

She smiled demurely. “You have given me everything. You are everything that I need.” Looking around quickly to make sure they were not being observed, Sudah leaned forward and placed a light kiss on his lips. “You have made me very happy. I never thought that I would find a man like you for me. I am so lucky.”

When Sudah looked at him like that, she made him feel successful. “I’m the lucky one.” He gently pulled her forward to kiss her again. “Would you mind if we went home?” He knew she wasn’t comfortable with public displays and it was a lot more than simple kissing that he wanted to do with her at that moment.

“I think that might be a very good idea.”


Okay - here are the contest details...

Fabulous Vanilla Heart Publishing authors are on Coffee Time Romance's yahoo group today. Stop by, say hello, and ask a question! http://t.co/JTlVmvK

My latest release, HYPHEMA, is a murder mystery set in North Carolina, one of my main characters is a Muslim Pakistani immigrant and the book deals with a lot of post-9/11 sentiment.

Ten years ago the world changed, nearly three-thousand people lost their lives and the lives of millions more were irrevocably changed. Recent news has been filled with families of the victims telling us how they have tried to do "positive things", honor their loved ones, keep the memories alive, and work towards a brighter future.

So here is the contest opportunity - Tell me what POSITIVE thing you plan to do this September 11 to honor the memories of those that perished and work to make this world better. You have all day to post on the Coffee Time Romance Yahoo group , entries will be accepted until 10pm EST (please include your email address).

I'll post some of these planned POSITIVE acts here on my author blog to appear on 9/11/2011 AND I will choose one random entry for a free ebook of HYPHEMA (http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/54453)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A NEW FaceBook Fan Page

Well I finally caved ~ I went ahead and put up a FaceBook fan page

I'd love for you to visit...

As an introduction, all this week I've invited a few other very talented authors to post promos (and it is going so well, I may do this monthly!)

...just some of the terrific authors who have posted on my fan page so far are: